Last month, ASX travel shares rallied behind vaccine hopes and reopening borders. November was a significant month for vaccine developments with Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) making ground-breaking advancements. Australian border restrictions have largely lifted across the board with South Australia being the one ongoing exception. With the strength that ASX travel shares displayed, which ones performed the best in November?
ASX travel agencies leading the recovery
The travel industry expects to see significant activity once restrictions have eased. And this has been the case for a majority of Australia’s domestic borders. Webjet has seen a number of domestic markets starting to rebound. Webjet’s online travel agency is witnessing a significant increase in bookings as markets reopen with only limited marketing spend.
Its average monthly bookings stood at approximately 18,700 in September. This compares to 5,700 in May, 18,200 in June, 13,600 in August and 131,300 pre-COVID. It seems the beginning of a domestic travel recovery is taking place and travel agencies believe they are well placed to benefit from the expected domestic led tourism industry in FY21.
Airlines looking to recover
For Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN), the unexpected closure of several domestic borders in July meant its recovery has been delayed. Qantas was expecting group domestic services to be operating at about 60% of pre-COVID levels by late October. Instead, continued border closures meant that capacity stayed below 30%. The market seemed to ignore the timing issue as the Qantas share price marched 25% in November. It may come as a surprise that Qantas is only down 25% year to date.
Air New Zealand Limited (ASX: AIZ) staged a similar recovery with its share price up more than 30% in November. However, it remains more than 40% below its pre-COVID share price level.
Airports flat but stable
Auckland International Airport Limited (AX: AIA) and Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD) did not deliver as explosive share price gains as airlines or travel agencies. However, their shares are only down a respective 15% and 20% year to date.
Looking at Sydney Airport’s traffic performance, its total passenger traffic in October was 225,000 passengers, down 94.3% on the prior corresponding period. International passengers were down 97.4% while domestic passengers were down 92.6%. The modest recovery in domestic traffic in October was driven by the lifting of travel restrictions between New South Wales and South Australia, and New South Wales and the Northern Territory.
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Motley Fool contributor Lina Lim has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Corporate Travel Management Limited and Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Flight Centre Travel Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.
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